Despite its less-than-ideal weather, Great Britain has had a knack for turning out big time slalom skiers. Names like Mapple, Asher and Arthur come to mind.
Pretty soon we may have to add Winter to that list. At 23, Team Goode’s Freddie Winter has been quickly ascending the European and world rankings lists, currently sitting at No. 2 and No. 15 on the Euro and IWWF rankings, respectively.
With a number of European titles under his belt and university completed, Freddie is looking toward tackling the world stage as well as the North American competition scene.
Goode recently had the chance to talk to Freddie about his career, future goals and a new slalom ski that has him very excited.
Goode: Where do you do most of your skiing and who do you train with?
Freddie: JB Ski near London is my favorite ski site in the UK. I had my first ski there when I was six and have been training there pretty much ever since. The bulk of my skiing over the years has been with John Battleday, the former slalom world silver medalist. I’ve also skied a lot with Dimitri Kourounis out in Porto Heli, Greece, and he’s been a huge influence. He’s a top coach and a great friend.
How did you get into skiing?
My parents have both been skiing at JB Ski every weekend for over 25 years so I have always been around a lake. I guess it was inevitable that I was going to try it. I loved it and my parents supported my skiing from an early age.
When did you realize that “hey, I’m pretty good at this” and that you could become a top skier in the world?
Beginning at an early age I always wanted to compete. And over time my expectations and ambitions have changed a lot, from when I won my first under 12 national championship to now where I’m starting to compete with the top guys that I’ve admired a lot over the years.
You are tearing it up in Europe. Any chance we might see you at some of the big events in the states any time soon?
I am planning on coming to Diablo Shores in September for sure. I watched that event last year on the webcast and was so frustrated I couldn’t be there given how great it looked.
You just hopped on the NANO ONE. What happened when you first got on it?
To be honest I was a bit nervous because I really loved my previous ski, the NANO Twist. I swapped my Powershells over and jumped out on the water without even checking the fin. The first set was great; I got around 3 ball at 10.25 meters (41-feet off) on factory settings. From that point I knew there was no going back to the Twist.
So you haven’t been on it long. What do you think your potential is on it?
I’ve been on it less than a month but felt at home straight away. I just had my first tournament on it last week and equaled my best of last season. It’s early still and I feel that I’m improving as the season goes on so hopefully the only way is up.
You’ve skied a few previous Goode models. How are the characteristics of the NANO ONE different and the same as those?
I have been skiing on Goode ski’s since I was 12 or 13 years old when I was passed down my mother’s old 9200. So I’ve been on a load of Goode ski iterations, including the 9200, 9500, 9700, 9900 and NANO Twist. The most noticeable difference between my old Twist and the NANO ONE is the added stability I feel from the wider ski. It is a ski that allows you to ski really smoothly, but if you get in a bit of trouble and need a big turn, it has the ability to be really aggressive. My off-side turn feels improved and a lot more reliable.
What’s the plan for the rest of the year?
This year I am going to seriously focus on my skiing. This season is the longest I will have had with tournaments stretching right to the end of the year. I have a few tournaments lined up with special emphasis on a few. I have the World Games in Columbia in a month’s time, the Europe and Africa Championships in Greece in September, and the World Championships at the end of the year.
Great Britain has produced some amazing slalom skiers, with of course Andy Mapple and Will Asher coming to mind. How did their legacies help you start your own and what does it mean for you to have them go before you?
In my eyes those guys are the two best slalom skiers since the 80′s. I like to think that they have come from the same country as me and have had the same opportunities, as well as having to deal with the same pretty average weather, and still managed to come out on top. If anything that gives me confidence that I can do the same. When I was getting started in tournament skiing I always looked up to Will and his success showed me that a guy from England can be the best around. I’ve started competing against him a fair amount over the last couple of years and have always enjoyed the challenge.
With the Worlds coming up later this year, what are you hoping to accomplish there?
I am just waiting for the (May) IWWF World Ranking List to be published to confirm my place but I will likely be in the top 20, which I need to qualify as an individual (Freddie was 15th on the October 2012 list). It will be my first Worlds which I am really excited about. I will have to see how the season goes between now and then, as it is quite a way off, but right now I feel good and I’m hoping for a high placing.